On May 16 and 17 2023 Pocket Gamer Connects - our series of internationally renowned live events - is BACK in Seattle.
Following the smash that was Pocket Gamer Connects London earlier this year, once again, we’ll be bringing together over 1,000 attendees from the games industry from all over the globe to network, pitch and learn from over 150 of the games industry’s top authorities in our favourite Stateside location.
A big focus for this conference is diving into new technologies, particularly AI and Web3 and their impact on the games industry, to reflect the most up-and-coming industry trends that you need to know about in 2023.
Our brilliant speakers and panellists will deliver insightful content on game design and development, monetisation and growth, life as an indie, new technologies, company culture and much, much more.
There's limitless networking opportunities and our expert sessions are your chance to get up close and meet some of the biggest names in mobile games in what will be our biggest and best PG Connects Seattle yet!
Before the event kicks off, the PocketGamer.biz team has been catching up with some of the incredible pioneers and thought leaders who will be taking to the stage to find out more about their talks and their thoughts on the global games market through 2023 and beyond.
Phil Shpilberg is head of gaming at GameChangerSF by Pixis, overseeing their gaming SaaS AI and full-service agency businesses.
Be sure to join us at PG Connects Seattle on May 16 and 17 2023. Click here for details.
PocketGamer.biz: What can we expect to hear from you at PGC Seattle?
Phil Shpilberg: My talk, "AI Trends in Performance Marketing" explores the transformative power of artificial intelligence in mobile user acquisition and its capacity to amplify the expertise of marketers. I will address the ongoing seismic shift in the gaming industry that necessitates an evolution in user acquisition professionals' skills and tools.
We will explore how AI is an emerging trend and a vital force reshaping performance marketing. We'll explore how AI technologies, such as automated bidding and budget management, targeting, and generative, creative AI, are elevating the craft of marketers, driving more effective user acquisition, and paving the way for a new era of game marketing.
This discussion is important because understanding and adapting to these AI-powered changes is a means to stay competitive in the gaming industry and we'll be giving concrete examples of AI's impact on gaming marketing.
AI can enable better bidding and budget management, streamline game development, and deliver personalized experiences for players.Phil Shpilberg
What’s the most common mistake you see being made in the games sector?
A prevalent mistake in the gaming industry is chasing the latest technology and losing track of why we are here, and that's creating amazing player experiences. In the race to innovate, developers often chase trends like blockchain or AI without asking: "Does this make the game more fun?" Examples like the Atari 2600 game flood, the Wii 'shovelware' crisis, and the surge of Flappy Bird clones underline this issue. As we approach an AI revolution in gaming, it's vital to remember that a game's success lies in captivating its audience, not just in showcasing the latest tech.
What is the single biggest challenge facing the mobile games industry today?
The biggest challenge facing the mobile games industry today is the low entry barrier and the dominance of high-end AAA games. On the one hand, technological advancements have made game development faster and cheaper, increasing market saturation. On the other hand, established entities continue to produce expensive, high-quality, branded AAA games, raising the standard. Thus, the challenge is to create games that stand out in this crowded market, delivering unique, high-quality experiences that can compete with the volume of easily-produced games and the depth of AAA titles.
What’s your favourite ever mobile game?
Currently, I am obsessed with Mighty Doom and Tomb Raider Reloaded. These games, representing legendary franchises, brilliantly transition to the mobile platform while maintaining their unique identities. With its fast-paced action and stylized art, Mighty Doom delivers an adrenaline rush. In contrast, Tomb Raider Reloaded is more of a thinking action game where gear and relic choices are key. Tomb Raider also has a lot of great special events and unique gear to earn. Despite their contrasting tones and art styles, both games share one key trait: they're incredibly fun to play!
What game from another company do you wish you had worked on?
I loved working on the NBA 2K franchise when I was at 2K. I'm a huge basketball fan, and nothing excites me more than working on that franchise.
And who wouldn't want to take a swing at reviving EA's NBA Live? It would be fun to take on the challenge of breathing new life into this classic series that's fallen on hard times lately.
What key trends do you see ahead in 2023?
AI is the most significant trend to watch in gaming over the next 12 months, specifically in how it transforms marketing. AI can enable better bidding and budget management, generative AI can streamline game development, and AI-driven targeting can deliver personalized experiences for players.
However, AI could also lead to a proliferation of cheap clones, oversaturation of the market, and erode player trust. The key will be to balance the benefits of AI with mitigating its potential negative impacts, ultimately delivering innovative experiences that satisfy players' desires for quality and originality.
What do you enjoy most about working in the mobile games industry?
Working in mobile game marketing is an absolute blast! I get to collaborate with fun, creative people, stay ahead of the curve in tech and business trends, and bring joy to players worldwide. There's always something new to learn and explore, and the industry's global reach makes it a truly unique and inclusive community.
What was your first-ever mobile phone?
My first-ever mobile phone was a classic clamshell Nokia, although I don't recall the exact model number. It served its purpose, but my first smartphone, the Treo 180, truly blew me away. This device was ahead of its time, showcasing the possibilities of mobile long before it became mainstream. While most businesspeople were toting around Blackberries, I found them uninspiring and opted for the more fun Treo.
What sessions/speakers (apart from your own) are you planning to attend?
I'm particularly excited to attend the panel on "The Investment Environment in the Gaming Industry in 2023". Given the significant changes in the world over the past 18 months, I'm keen to hear from those responsible for funding the future of gaming.